Greenup County, bordering the Ohio River in northeastern Kentucky, is rich in history and culture. Settlers first arrived in the mid-1700s and carved farms from hardwood forests. Lucy Virgin Downs, the first white child born west of the Alleghenies, lived in Greenup County, as did Jesse Boone, brother of Kentucky icon Daniel Boone. The 20th century brought industrialization and economic diversification to the historically agricultural area. Ashland Oil, a Fortune 500 company, maintained corporate headquarters in Greenup County. Two steel mills, a large rail yard, an excellent hospital, and a number of surface mines also provided employment to many people who continued to work their family farms, too. This economic progress was mirrored in every aspect of country life as education, health care, and recreation all improved dramatically. Today Greenup County’s history is appreciated by both longtime residence and cultural tourists.
James M. Gifford serves as chief executive and senior editor of the Jesse Stuart Foundation, a regional publishing house. Dr. Gifford’s coauthors, Anthony and Suzanna Stephens, are eastern Kentuckians. The authors gathered photographs from dozens of personal and library collections.
By James M. Gifford, Anthony and Suzanna Stephens